HELPING HAND: Ben Neilson, owner of Neilson & Co. Wealth Management will be offering pro-bono advice for struggling farmers.
HELPING HAND: Ben Neilson, owner of Neilson & Co. Wealth Management will be offering pro-bono advice for struggling farmers. Mike Knott BUN030818NEILSON1

Financial Planner goes pro bono for struggling farmers

THERE'S no doubt rural farmers are in a time of crisis, and one Bundaberg financial planner is here to help in the best way he can.

Neilson & Co. Wealth Management managing director Ben Neilson said the initial idea to offer pro bono services to farmers doing it tough came from the very real challenges faced in Bundaberg on a daily basis.

"Many of our existing clients were struggling and they had no real idea that we were able to assist in the capacity that we can," Mr Neilson said.

"I was struggling with the concept that families who had worked their whole lives on the land were now being forced to give up as there was very limited support.

"I wanted to create an opportunity to address the elephant in the room and attempt to tackle other people's issues head on using every resource we have."

The planner said the firm had been working with the Black Dog Institute and had learnt suicide attempts can sometimes follow challenging situations.

"I'm looking to intercept these cases far before they get to this point," he said.

"Offering support, clarity, educational material and ideas about strategies to assist an individual's needs can help.

"I believe there's enormous relief when help is admitted and asked for, the burden is off, people are aware and most importantly the individual no longer feels so alone.

"We are able to take an outside viewpoint, assess potential weak points and begin a discussion about possible remedies.

"In some cases we are able to deal directly with providers such as superannuation providers, banks and creditors in an attempt to negotiate terms or leverage."

Mr Neilson made the decision to waive all fees for struggling farmers to help them continue doing what they love.

"There are no initial, no implementation and no ongoing fees," Mr Neilson said.

"If they want further advice then we can charge them if needed, but the aim is to offer them the service to advance themselves at no benefit to us."